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Entry for 4th February 2004 at 15:47 BST

A Political Rant

Wed 4th Feb 2004 15:47 BST by Andrew from Darlington, U.K.

I see that Tony Blair is pulling off another bit of amazing PR by pointing the finger at everyone else apart from himself. He is using Lord Hutton's report to justify his case for war when that is not what Hutton's report was commissioned to prove. His report was limited to "… the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly C.M.G.".

John Simpson in his deeply disturbing book "The Wars Against Saddam", highlights just how early the US was working out a way to implicate Saddam in the 9/11 atrocities. He describes how Donald Rumsfeld on Sept 11 2001, the very day of the attack, made notes querying how he could "sweep up" Saddam at the same time as Usama Bin Laden [p251], there's more in the book. Tony has followed the line like so many other U.K. Prime Ministers in attempting to be the bridge to Europe for America. This plan has failed badly this time, the woven half-truths seem to be unravelling. Britain has been used, and used badly, and the US government doesn't seem to care too much. Tony's noble persuasive effort to get George Bush to seek U.N. justification didn't go too well or at least it wasn't heading in the direction that America was going along regardless, and the U.N. was brushed off with much fury and stage smoke. France did not oppose a war as liberally reported here, but they wanted due process through the U.N. Much later Jack Straw attempted a quiet political apology to France.

When I read today that Mr Blair reported, "I am not ashamed of taking the decision to go to war" I've just seen red. His answer is almost a tautology in the context of U.N. opinion preceding the war, no one privately wished Saddam to remain (perhaps the Palestinians, but more out of a mutual hatred of Israel). There was indeed enough evidence to build a U.N. consensus to use force to oust Saddam, but too little effort was made in getting it. It could eventually be seen that weapons inspections were going to turn up question marks and little (literal) substance, better to quit before that conclusion was reached.

Tony Blair should be explaining why he took this country to war without legal authority and without U.N. majority backing. A world in majority favour of action against Saddam would have done more to aid the fight against extremism than any unilateral action could have. The forthcoming intelligence inquiry looks like another manoeuvre to direct the blame to someone else. Expect more Dr Brian Jones' to appear out of the woodwork as the intelligence community loses its patience and are no longer prepared to fall on their swords. Hats off to Kennedy and Menzies Campbell by the way for insisting that the new inquiry must include an analysis of political judgement, but of course no politician could be expected to yield to something that would likely kick them out of office.

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